A wise and beautiful friend once taught me about the power of what she calls "Three Minutes of Stillness," a practice she recommends for finding peace and calm in the midst of chaos. I know many of us -- myself included -- often find our days too busy to schedule adequate self-care time. But let's be honest with ourselves: who among us really can't find three minutes a day to nourish our hearts?
Here in the midst of a crazy-busy day, my friend's practice flashed across my mind. I knew I needed those three minutes today more than ever. I made a mental note to sit down for a few moments later on and go after some stillness -- but then it found me first.
I had just washed a teacup and was looking up through the kitchen window at the backyard photinia trees. Two dazzling gold-hued hummingbirds among the red leaves caught my eye. They were playing tag in the trees, dancing freely in the air and clearly enjoying their beautiful little lives.
Suddenly my chaotic world just stopped, and I floated free. My deadline-oriented thoughts vanished. The little lives out in the red photinia were for the moment all-encompassing.
Likely those hummingbirds are right there in the tree every day and I'm just too busy to notice. But today they gave me one of those 'wow' moments that just wasn't worth sacrificing to the demands of my hectic schedule. So I went with it, watching in wonder. Three minutes later, I went back to work, smiling and calm.
Taking our "three minutes of stillness" a day to step back from our speeding minds has its rewards. Giving our hearts some distance from our distracting mental chatter creates a real opportunity: it creates a depth from which we can slowly and wholly absorb the life that is moving through and around us. I think of such stillness as a platform for wonder. We can all use a little more wonder in our lives, right?
So take three minutes today and every day. If you're new to meditation or are having trouble getting your brain to be less noisy, we recommend any of the meditation CD's by Dr. Rick Hanson and Dr. Martin Rossman.
And do check out my wise friend Lisa K. Gigliotti's website www.WithCourageICan.com and her book series called "Coraggio! Lessons for Living from an Italian Grandmother Despite Illness, Pain and Loss." Lisa, who is currently a Division Director and Administrative Law Judge in Lansing, MI, speaks from personal experience, having faced tremendous loss, grief and suffering in her life. She has surmounted these challenges with unimaginable strength, grace, gratitude, and love. She is one amazing, gifted woman who has dedicated her life to helping others, and the world is a better place because of her efforts.